Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing with, will be jeopardized.
As his email correspondence with Blue grows more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out – without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
First published: 2015
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of those books that I’d been wanting to read for absolutely ages before finally doing so. When the whole blogosphere was going crazy about it in 2015, I figured “I should buy that” – and did so probably about a year later. And here we are, in 2017, and I have finally read it. Because that’s how those things go sometimes. Go me! The verdict: this is a really cute story!
It took me a little while to really get into it because I wasn’t sold on Becky Albertalli’s writing style right away. The sentences were a bit too short and fragmented for my taste – felt a bit choppy and not very smooth. Eventually, I more or less got used to this, although I’m still not sure if I ended up liking it or not. What did help was the fact that at some point during the story Simon’s writing/speaking style is actually addressed as being a little fragmented. So perhaps it was all part of his voice? I don’t know. In any case, it stopped bothering me after a while.
This partly has to do with the fact that I really started to like Simon as a narrator. I had a couple of laugh out loud-moments (or more like snort out loud-moments, really), which I always do appreciate in a book. It’s quite special how this story is able to switch between heavy, emotional moments and silly, light-hearted banter. I loved that. Plus, I liked Simon’s personality. He’s very sweet, and even though he has loads of teenage angst and has a flair for the dramatic, that doesn’t define him. The same goes for the fact that he’s gay. It’s an aspect of him, but not the most important thing about him.
Which leads me to one of the things I liked most about the book: the fact that it’s not just about the romance and Simon’s sexuality. Sure, Simon thinks about Blue all the time – he obsesses about Blue’s identity and about the whole blackmail thing. Understandable, I’d say. However, Simon’s friends are also an important part of the story, as is his family. These characters were all really lovely and flawed (I love me some flawed characters), and I really liked how much all of Simon’s relationships, and not just his romantic one, were included. It made it much more fun to read about.
I wasn’t really all that interested in everything that was going on at his school, such as the musical and the usual high school drama. I guess that’s just no longer something that really interests me. American high school stuff has always been very different from my own high school experience, and the whole high school thing has been over for me for quite some time now. Perhaps I’ve finally outgrown it? I still like YA, of course, but the school-related stuff is just a bit ‘meh’ to me.
Final thing: I guessed Blue’s identity quite early on – but that didn’t bother me at all. It didn’t make the story any less enjoyable. The romance was incredibly cute, and I really liked how it was resolved in the end.
I’m really glad I finally read this book! I’ve been wanting to read more LGBT+ and otherwise diverse books, and this lovely read only motivated me to pursue that more actively. Can definitely recommend it!